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Miami Burglar’s Spree Spreads

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(CBS4)

(CBS4)

Gary-Nelson-600x450 Gary Nelson
Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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South Florida Crime

DORAL (CBS4) – He is the Justin Bieber of restaurant burglars.  He’s everywhere.

A man believed to have committed four smash-and-grab-the-cash-register burglaries at four small restaurants in Doral has struck again, this time in Medley.

The thief, wearing a distinctive dark hoodie and black sweat pants with a white stripe down the side, hit the La Mia restaurant on Northwest 72nd Avenue in Medley shortly after Midnight Saturday morning.

Police are convinced he is the same fellow who robbed the Doral restaurants the previous weekend.

“Same type of vehicle, same type of M.O., he’s just taking the cash register and he’s in and out in seconds,” said Commander Yvonne Little of the Medley police department.

At least three of the businesses he’s hit captured the burglaries on security video.  In every case, the man smashes the glass out of the front door with a large hammer, then rips the cash register off the counter, carrying it out to his trunk and driving away.

The security video at La Mia restaurant provided the best look yet at his car, a red sedan, possibly a Lincoln or Mercury.  It’s missing a hubcap on the right front side and has a dented right front fender.

Alex Salvat, owner of La Mia, said that in addition to making off with some $300 cash, the burglar cost him upwards of a $1,000 in costs to repair the front door and replace the cash register.  The register also contained his business permits and food-handling certificates for his employees, all of which will have to be replaced.

“Everybody is struggling just to make a living,” Salvat said.  “You take ten steps forward and then something like this happens and it draws you back.”

On the weekend of July 14th, the same burglar struck a Subway and the Soprano’s Pizza right next door on Northwest 25th street in Doral.  He hit two other restaurants in Doral the same weekend.

Police worry that he may strike some night when someone is working late.

“You don’t know what will happen if you encounter him the moment that he’s in there,” said Medley’s Commander Little.  “Remember, he’s armed.  He has that hammer in his hand.”

Investigators are hoping someone will recognize the thief’s red car or know the heavy-set man by the distinctive hoodie that he wears over an oversized T-shirt ,and his black sweat pants with the broad white stripe down the side.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

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